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Thread: Surf Fishing in the Winter

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    SC
    Posts
    293

    Surf Fishing in the Winter

    Im trying to increase the frequency of my trips to the coast of SC and extend my fishing to year round!

    But...I've read some stuff recently that seems to say that the surf fishing isn't much good in the winter. From what I've read...it seems that the reds and specks leave the surf and head up in the tidal creeks when the temps drop.

    Is this the case, and if so...

    Is there any way to get to these fish in the creeks without a boat? Where / how?

    Can surf fishing be productive in the winter months (December, Jan., Feb.) even when its cold? If so, what are some good spots to try in January and what kind of fish can we expect to catch?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Wilmington, NC
    Posts
    2,293
    I havent done much winter fishing down that way, but I'm guessing it cant be all that much different than here in SE NC.

    In the dead of winter, it seems like 99.9% of the fish (reds, trout) are in .1% of the water, particularly with the reds. Find that .1% and you got it made. They're creatures of habit, and you can generally return to the same areas all winter and have a blast.

    For the creek fishin, it's gonna be tough without some sort of boat. I have several areas that i fish during the winter on foot here in my area, but i found them while fishing via boat or kayak and then found a way to wade to them. Not sure i ever would have found these spots if i was wading to begin with. Just way too much water to cover. Also you cant really spot the schools that well unless you're standing above the water on a boat or yak. You'd have to get extremely lucky.

    There are also some huge schools of reds, generally 26"-32" average size, that roam the surf all winter. Just like in the creeks, it's easiest to ride the beach in a boat and find them. However, with the right conditions (offshore wind aka flat calm, bright sun), you can spot these schools by walking the surf. Unlike creek fishin, when you find these fish you will almost always be able to make them eat. For some odd reason, these fish in the surf are aggressive and hungry no matter what the water temp. Even had them chasing topwater plugs with water temps in the low 40's.

    So to answer your question about whether surf fishin can be productive in the winter, the answer is yes. Maybe someone else on here can help you with some locations down your way in SC.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Raleigh
    Posts
    771
    I have a few "spots" up here in NC that I fish for red drum. I wait for a calm, sunny, warmer than usual day and go scouting for "that spot" which is shallow, flat, clear, sudsy white water on top of a sandbar near a cut or run out on the beach. That should tell you what you need to know ;-)

    If you can find said spot you might run into a school of about 200 or more drum sunbathing and dying to eat. Carry light tackle.....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    SC
    Posts
    293
    Quote Originally Posted by DrumintheSuds View Post
    I have a few "spots" up here in NC that I fish for red drum. I wait for a calm, sunny, warmer than usual day and go scouting for "that spot" which is shallow, flat, clear, sudsy white water on top of a sandbar near a cut or run out on the beach. That should tell you what you need to know ;-)

    If you can find said spot you might run into a school of about 200 or more drum sunbathing and dying to eat. Carry light tackle.....
    Define "light tackle"...and be specific...I need all the help I can get.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Raleigh
    Posts
    771
    Quote Originally Posted by wolfgang View Post
    Define "light tackle"...and be specific...I need all the help I can get.
    My setup is a 9' Ugly Stick downrigger rod which has great action. I fish slack water on top of a sandbar in less than 1 foot of water so 2-3 oz of weight on my bottom rig is all the weight I need. If it washes the water is to big for me and the combination of light rod and light weight allows me to hold rather easily. A lighter setup also does a better job of detecting bites and preventing the fish from knowing he has just picked up your bait. I also low spike my rods so when the fish picks up the bait it gives and he doesn't feel the hook until he has the hook in his jaw.

    Hope this helps!

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